A representative from People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals (PETA) has forwarded a letter to Britney Spears asking her to refrain from using live cheetahs during the debut performance of her new single “I’m A Slave 4 U” at the MTV Video Music Awards at Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House in New York City tonight (September 6).
PETA spokeswoman Jenny Woods explained to LAUNCH why the animal-rights organization contacted Spears. “We asked her not to do it because the animals-under the bright lights, and with all the noise and just the training that goes into making these cats behave-is stressful for them, but also very cruel, so we asked her to not have the animals onstage,” she said.
PETA director of campaigns Dan Mathews penned the note to Spears, which reads, in part: “As you know, we greatly appreciate the fashion statement you so often make by wearing animal-friendly pleather. We’re writing today in the hope that you’ll open your heart to the plight of captive ‘wild’ animals caged and forced to tolerate bright lights, crowds, and frightening levels of noise. Please consider that cheetahs are shy, solitary animals who, in their natural habitat, would have a home range of up to 1,500 square kilometers. To display them in cages in front of thousands of people with loud music would be cruel.”
Woods added that this is not the first time PETA has requested that a musician not use live animals during a performance. Her organization successfully persuaded “Black Cat” singer Janet Jackson to reconsider using a live black panther during one of her concert tours. “One of the things also that happened not that long ago, when Janet Jackson was planning to use a black panther onstage during her concert tour, we sent her information about inhumane training of wild cats and pointed out that the noise and the lights would be very stressful to live animals and she agreed not to have live animals onstage, so we’re hoping Britney will do the same.”
Woods explained that some progress had been made as of Wednesday afternoon (September 5). “We did hear from her people and she’s most likely not going to have cheetahs onstage,” said Woods. “But she may have other animals, and we’re trying to convince them not to have any animals at all.” Calls to Spears’s Jive Records label spokesperson were not returned as of press time.